You’d Better Forgive!
“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Mark 11:25 NLT
Unforgiveness can take a toll on us mentally, physically, emotionally, and certainly spiritually. One proverb likens unforgiveness to swallowing poison and expecting our offender to die. When we hold grudges or resentment, it makes things worse for us. Every time we relive the injury or offense, it deepens the scar that has been inflicted on our souls.
It is expected that every believer will pray because Jesus says,” When you pray, not if you pray.” Before we even begin to pray, we must choose to forgive others. Matthew 18 recounts the story of a man who owed a large debt to the king, who forgave him the money he owed. This same man, who was owed a smaller amount of money by someone else, refused to extend the same kindness. He even threatened the life of the man who owed him and had him put in jail. When the king found out how badly he treated the other man, he renounced his forgiven debt and had him thrown in prison to be tortured (Mark 11:18-35 NLT).
God forgives us and empowers us to forgive others. Even the worst criminal on the planet can receive God’s forgiveness. Too often we make the mistake of holding on to an offense while waiting for an apology. We have to forgive others in the absence of their apologies. Forgiveness is always possible, but reconciliation is not. Forgiving others does not mean things will work out. When others forgive us, it does not mean that the relationship will be restored. It means that we no longer allow the offense to take root in our hearts to build a tree of bitterness and resentment. Forgiveness is not for our offender; it is for us. We have freely been forgiven by God, but it cost Jesus His life.
Forgiveness can be hard when we focus on the offense and the person we ought to forgive. There are some things that are so egregious that it may be challenging for people to clear them from their history. God does not expect us to have selective amnesia. We are encouraged to focus on His love for us and how He has forgiven us. If we want our prayers to get results, we cannot be hindered by carrying offense in our hearts.
Reflection: Are you holding any grudges against anyone, dead or alive? If so, choose to forgive that person. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you not to rehearse the hurt.
Prayer: Father, I know that You have forgiven me of many things. You don’t hold things against me. Help me to focus on Your love and forgive those who have offended me in any way. Today, I decide to forgive them and let it go. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Upcoming Connect 21 Events
- Prayer Masterclass (Wednesday, Jan 24th via YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/@linkedupnorth)
- Saturday Morning Prayer (Jan 27th @ 9 am at The Way Woodstock 109 Towne Lake Pkwy, Woodstock GA)
- Sunday Morning Worship (Jan 28th @ 10 am at River Ridge High School)